5 Californians who attended wedding in Milwaukee Co. test positive for Omicron COVID-19 variant, DHS says

No cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19 identified in Wisconsin residents as of Friday night

MILWAUKEE — A dozen people from California who attended a wedding in Milwaukee County last weekend have tested positive for COVID-19, and five of them were infected with the newly-identified Omicron variant, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said Friday night.

The people who were sickened attended a wedding on November 27. DHS said it and Milwaukee’s health department are investigating the outbreak tied to the wedding and are reaching out to Wisconsinites who were close contacts of those who tested positive.

All 12 Californians who tested positive for COVID-19 are between the ages of 18 and 49, have been vaccinated and are experiencing mild symptoms. Most of them have also received booster shots.

Eleven of those who tested positive live in Alameda County, California, while one lives in the city of Berkeley, the city and the Alameda County Public Health Department said in a joint news release Friday night. One of the 12 attended the wedding after returning from a trip outside the country. The release did not specify where the person had traveled.

While a California lab identified five cases of the Omicron variant, test results for the other seven have not yet been made available. So far, no cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in Wisconsin residents, DHS said.

“Although the news that this variant is continuing to spread throughout the country is concerning, it should not be a cause for panic. We know COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing serious illness and death,” DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said in a news release. “That’s why it’s critical that all eligible Wisconsinites get vaccinated or get their booster as soon as possible and follow public health best practices to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.”

The first U.S. cases of the new variant were reported in California on December 1. The following day, Minnesota reported its first lab-identified case.

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